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Sunday June 4th

LAB! Theatre one-act written by exchange student focuses on agoraphobia

John May took his homework for his playwriting class and turned it into a work of art.

His play “The Lobotany” — a portmanteau of “lobotomy” and “botany” — will be featured in LAB! Theatre’s “One-Acts in the Park” on Saturday.

One acts in the park

Time: 1 p.m. Saturday
Location: Forest Theatre

“We were told to create a list of relationships and locations and then chose two at random,” said May, an exchange student who also directed “Diary of Somebody” for LAB! earlier this semester.

“I did, and the rest was homework. It just developed as I went — which is something completely new for me.”

May said he finds one-act plays easier to write than full-length pieces that require a lot of commitment to plotting, subtext and characterization.

“That’s why I chose just to focus on two characters in one specific moment.”

“The Lobotany” is about an agoraphobe, someone afraid to go outside, who is taken to a greenhouse by his psychiatrist.

“More conceptually, the play concerns itself with the power and beauty of words, and the symbiotic nature between the two, and different conceptions of reality,” May said.

May, who is from the United Kingdom, said he found a small challenge in writing for an American audience.

“Editing came mainly in the form of Americanizing — I’m British and certain words and terms were not understood by my actors or director,” May said.

The play’s director, junior Angela Sibille, said that besides some of May’s small alterations, there have been no issues translating the work to stage.

“There were a few things we worried were a little too British for Americans to understand,” Sibille said.

Sibille said the two actors — Tyler Burt, who also penned a one-act for LAB!, and Paul Hovey — aced their auditions.

“They are naturals when it comes to this play — it’s like they were practically typecasts,” Sibille said.

Hovey, a junior who plays the psychiatrist in “The Lobotany,” said the play’s abstractions made his task challenging.

“It was hard, at first, because the play deals with some lofty themes that are hard to grasp,” he said.

“But I’m excited with where it is going now.”

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